Loose forwards for dummies

Written by (rumblo)

Posted in :Original Content, Reader Submissions, Sharks on 7 May 2013 at 08:42
Tagged with : , , ,

After watching the games this past weekend I had to abandon my thoughts of writing anything about the matches and set about pondering one of the debates that always get quite heated.

South Africa has been blessed with a prodigious pool of loose forward talent. And I have seen heated debates raging on all rugby forums as to the correct make up of the loose trio, no debate more fierce than on Sharksworld where there is a plethora of Springboks available for the back row.

I spent a bit of time on the net getting what experts feel the role of each of the loose forwards should be.

The 8th man

A big burley fellow who can pick up off the back of the scrum and make carries over the advantage line. Acts as a link with the back line.

7 Blindside Flank

Ball carrier and ruck cleaner, also often a line out option

6 Openside Flank

Tackle machine and ball stealer… Or at least ball slower downer.

The sharks in recent years have been truly blessed. The talent and power of Bismarck has spoilt the coaches. He has performed all his duties as a hooker while acting as a fetcher as well. This has allowed the Sharks to play a less balanced loose forward combination as Bismarck magically did 150% of what another player would do.

In South Africa we have huge depth in 7 and 8 and often they can even play 4. Our players have no fear and are harder than coffin nails. But the skills and finesse needed to play 6 seem to be in short supply.

My feel for the Sharks loose trio would be Alberts at 8, Deysel at 7 and Minnie at 6. This will provide balance in roles as well as dividing up the ball carrying by providing two more ball carriers which in turn would reduce injuries in theory.

The value of a good 6 is only really evident when they are in the team. An excellent example is how the bulls fair when Deon Stegmann is unavailable, the loose trio seems ineffective and the quality of ball the backs receive is a few seconds slower and that makes all the difference.


  • They should work on Coetzee. He tackles anything that moves, and if they can get him stealing balls and actually passing sometimes he’d be perfect.

  • Comment 1, posted at 07.05.13 08:45:20 by PTAShark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • The problem with minnie is that he more often than not gets on the wrong side of the refs whistle and no team can afford that. I still feel he’s a good option though.

  • Comment 2, posted at 07.05.13 09:01:15 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @PTAShark (Comment 1) : I reckon as long as you don’t mind getting slammed and abused at the breakdown, it is a skill that can be taught. Coetzee does look like he is happy to get physical – so if we could find a coach who can actually teach him the dark arts, he may become an option at open side.

  • Comment 3, posted at 07.05.13 09:05:13 by Bokhoring Reply
  • Stormers have the same issues without the proper opensider….Bulls and Cheetahs have it spot on with Brussow and Steggmann….I would love to see F Louw back at the Stormers….balance is sio important in the back row…

  • Comment 4, posted at 07.05.13 09:06:48 by grant10 Reply

  • I feel both Marcel and Kolisi need to learn that skill. Both high workrate but the bigger guys will get the nod over them unless they add another dimension to their games.

  • Comment 5, posted at 07.05.13 09:18:10 by rumblo Reply
  • @grant10 (Comment 4) : Fourie performs that role for the Stormers.

  • Comment 6, posted at 07.05.13 09:18:26 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 6) : Yes….but from the 2 spot it is not ideal….boks started 4 tests versus All Blacks…
    ….and won all 4….with Bissy and Brussow starting….there is a message in that.

  • Comment 7, posted at 07.05.13 09:20:28 by grant10 Reply

  • @grant10 (Comment 7) : I think he is actually a better 6 than 2. Not in Brussow’s class, but still a useful option.

  • Comment 8, posted at 07.05.13 09:28:01 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @rumblo (Comment 5) : agrEe! But they need to decide where they wanna play and settle them. They cant have an average to good ball carrier and a ball stealer – they need to decide which one they want Marcell to be and then teach him those skills and xtra.

  • Comment 9, posted at 07.05.13 09:29:47 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @grant10 (Comment 7) : For the Love of God FINALLY!!! I tried sending that message across Sport24 when people were saying how we needed Du Preez and Morne bla bla bla…BISMARCK AND BRUSSOW WON THOSE GAMES!!! Boks of 2009 were dominant because of them…Im not saying du Preez is a bad player (personally I think Pienaar better but thats irrelevant) but we had quality ball because of BISSIE AND HEINRICH

  • Comment 10, posted at 07.05.13 09:33:05 by pienaar111 Reply

  • @Ice (Comment 9) : Unfortunately if Marcell wants to become a ball stealer, he will have to leave the Sharks to acquire the necessary skills. Sharks loosies have mostly been the worst in the country in that dept.

  • Comment 11, posted at 07.05.13 09:37:09 by Bokhoring Reply
  • Who would be in charge of breakdown skills training in the sharks camp?

  • Comment 12, posted at 07.05.13 09:52:42 by rumblo Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 8) : agree …pity he does not want to play at 6 full time

  • Comment 13, posted at 07.05.13 09:58:05 by grant10 Reply

  • @rumblo (Comment 12) : Plum is the only forwards coach in the setup as far as I can see =

  • Comment 14, posted at 07.05.13 09:59:32 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @pienaar111 (Comment 10) : spot on….and sadly they have not been used in tandem together again ….and with HM seeming dislike of Brussow I cant see them playing together again in the near future, sadly.

  • Comment 15, posted at 07.05.13 10:00:27 by grant10 Reply

  • @bokhoring I get uneasy at each lineout. He is a way better six then two.

  • Comment 16, posted at 07.05.13 10:02:19 by rumblo Reply
  • Nice article. However, the roles really depends on the team dynamic. Some 8’s are quick and have good linking skills, rather than being bruisers. Easier to play them if one of your T5 is also a ball carrying option. Hence Kanko and Daniel being effective when we have the likez of Beast and Bismark available. Keiron Read is also very skilled.

    The only position that never changes in requirement is blindside -still gotta be a big, glass-chewing bastard.

  • Comment 17, posted at 07.05.13 10:16:54 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • That’s what I was pointing out, now that the tight five has lost Bizzie they don’t have the luctuary of a skillful or light 8. They need another big man. All the provinces need to get Brussouw in in the off season to offer skills workshops.

  • Comment 18, posted at 07.05.13 10:30:19 by rumblo Reply
  • @Big Fish (Comment 17) : Agree in principle, but the balance is the key. lappies isn’t the most imposing 7 around, but he is skillful and a grafter.

    The balance at the Cheetahs is pretty good, and the players compliment each other well. Brüssow and Strauss the “stealers”, Viljoen and Lappies the bruisers, and vd Walt the link man.

    As far as size goes Alberts is bigger, but slower, and needs to continue working on adding new dimensions to his game. Opposition have worked out, that you need to stop him early, or gang tackle him.

  • Comment 19, posted at 07.05.13 10:59:33 by KingCheetah Reply

  • @PTAShark (Comment 1) : The young Schalk Burger also never passed… They do play a similar type of game.

  • Comment 20, posted at 07.05.13 11:28:41 by King Shark Reply
    King Shark
  • @grant10 (Comment 4) : I reckon we also wouldn’t mind having him when Botes decides to retire 😉

  • Comment 21, posted at 07.05.13 11:31:29 by King Shark Reply
    King Shark
  • Where is Botes?

  • Comment 22, posted at 07.05.13 12:28:44 by rumblo Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 14) : The problem there is that there is not one female in that management team. NOT one single lady!!! I know that I’ll prefer a feminine touch during physio or massage time…

  • Comment 23, posted at 07.05.13 13:19:22 by SharksRTB Reply

  • @rumblo (Comment 22) : Injured.

  • Comment 24, posted at 07.05.13 13:27:19 by King Shark Reply
    King Shark

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